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Re-imagining the employee experience through alumni networks: A how-to guide

Posted on the Clinch Blog

‘Lifelong relationships’ and ‘engaging employees for life’ are themes gaining popularity as organizations realise the benefits of maintaining a strong relationship with their employees even after they have left the business. The changes in the market landscape as a result of a global pandemic have caused HR teams to swiftly review and adapt their talent practices. It has also provided organizations with an opportunity to take a step back and reconsider their employee experience.

This experience no longer needs to end when an employee leaves your organization. Rather, it can seamlessly continue into a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties. For the alumni, it provides a community of networking and professional development which is particularly important during these uncertain times. For the organization, it amplifies their employer brand. Engaged alumni are brand ambassadors, they are also an untapped pool of passive qualified talent.

Emerging labour trends are also pushing organizations to rethink their alumni strategy. The baby boomer generation are retiring from the workforce with approximately 10,000 baby boomers reaching retirement age daily. The medium tenure for employees is down to 4.2 years – for millennials, the average tenure is even shorter at 2.8 years.

With continuous demand for talent and increasing skills gaps left by baby boomers retiring, alumni networks have a key role to play in an organization’s talent toolkit. A robust alumni network helps to reduce talent and knowledge gaps, reduces time to fill and time to productivity and promotes retention. Typically, alumni rehires have a 44% higher retention rate.

An alumni network allows organizations to engage and nurture past employees through targeted and proactive outreach, often supported by technology. They typically cultivate networking and professional development opportunities and keep alumni informed about the organization through virtually hosted events, blogs, newsletters, and videos to name a few.

How technology can help

Embedding a technology platform like a recruitment marketing solution to support your alumni network is ranked consistently in the top three most valuable alumni benefits. From both an alumni experience and organizational perspective, the benefits of using a platform to engage and nurture your alumni network are highlighted below.

From the alumni lens:

Dedicated alumni landing pages deliver an engaging and memorable experience by recommending personalised jobs and content to each alumni. These landing pages can prompt people to join your alumni networks, and sign up for job alerts through targeted calls-to-action. They also keep alumni up-to-date with organizational news, virtual events, networking and professional development activities – all while showcasing your employer brand and creating a highly engaged alumni network.

From the organizational lens:

A recruitment marketing solution can help organizations to automate, manage, track and analyse their alumni process and demonstrate the business return on investment of the system. It drives efficiency, reduces time and cost, and makes the alumni network more sustainable in the longer term.
• Easy content management makes updating or changing the alumni landing pages simple.
• Automation through the nurture workflows and ‘SMART’ pipeline lists engages alumni with minimal manual intervention.
• Powerful analytics dashboards help to understand traffic on alumni landing pages and highlight which content is getting the most engagement.

The return on investment (ROI) is well worth the effort!

Engaged alumni can deliver significant ROI for the organization. Top business benefits include:
Brand Advocacy: engaged alumni are 86% more likely to provide positive reviews of the organization and culture.
Business Development: alumni are 76% more likely to recommend the products and services of the organization to others. This can also have a positive impact on current client relationships.
Talent Acquisition: Recruiting from alumni networks can lead to 66% savings in costs, including reduction in time to fill and time to productivity.
• Employee Engagement: Alumni rehires typically have a 44% higher retention rate over 3 years.

The key to success is ensuring that your alumni not only see the value but are also receiving the value from this network. It’s important to keep your former employees at the centre of your design process and ensure they are receiving a great experience.

The building blocks to a successful alumni network: Download the playbook

Building an alumni network can be a daunting process but you can see from the return on investment above that it’s worth the effort. To support you in this process, we’ve developed a playbook that takes you through the key building blocks to creating a successful alumni network. In this playbook, we’ll share key considerations and tips across each of the stages. We hope this guide helps to get you started and supports you in your journey to creating a successful alumni network.